Dig Two Graves is the first book in the Detective Solomon Gray Series by Keith Nixon. This is my first book by Mr. Nixon, and it won’t be the last. After finishing this interesting first instalment in the series, I snapped up the other three books in the series so I could keep following Solomon and see what happens next. The story is a little dark, gritty, raw, and emotive. It’s quite a complex story that is not only a crime/murder mystery, but also quite an in-depth character study of the quirky, flawed, and complicated man that is Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray.
Solomon has a tonne of baggage that haunts him- he is an obsessed and driven soul, self-medicating with booze, pills, and cigarettes. He’s cranky, prickly, stubborn, and lonely. He has suffered great personal loss over the course of the past 10 years- starting with the disappearance of his (then) 6 year-old son. He hasn’t really ‘lived’ since- his job has become his life. He dedicates every spare moment into going over the case file looking for clues, or exploring any tiny thread of hope, no matter how unlikely. He has never stopped looking for and thinking about his son. But, is weighed down by a heavy burden of guilt and sorrow.
So, when a body of a 16 year old boy turns up after an apparent suicide (the same age his son would be now)- it starts off an investigation that will lead Solomon down avenues he never imagined. With twists and turns that he (and I) didn’t see coming, the story kept me guessing right till the end. What will Solomon discover? Where will the investigation lead him? Will he discover what happened to his son?
The story is told from both a ‘present’ perspective, as well as showing ‘flashbacks’ of the past. The transitions are seamless and well done. The flashbacks help to build the backstory, as well as adding to our knowledge of Solomon himself.
This is a tightly woven plot, with vivid descriptions and clever details. This helped make both the storyline, and characters, realistic and believable. The characters are fully developed individuals with their own quirks, flaws and personalities. I did find it hard to connect and invest in Solomon as a character, and he frustrated me a lot. I did feel for him, as a parent I really empathized with him, and I don’t think you ever get over something like that. I appreciated his dedication, and skills- but would have like him to be a little more endearing. I would also have like some more police procedure/investigation, and suspense- as I felt that this part of the story suffered a little, from the focus on Solomon and his ‘character study’. But, that being said, I still enjoyed the story, and would definitely read more of Mr. Nixon’s work- like I already mentioned, I am already exploring the next few books in this series.
Thank you, Mr. Nixon!
Reviewed by @angelahayes